Biological Medications: Learn. Discuss. Take Action.
Is your asthma, eczema or allergy treatment working for you? If not, it may be time to look for a new approach.
There are times when a pill, lotion, topical or inhaled medication approach to your health condition may not seem to be working, or may not seem to be enough. What can you do then?
First, you can work with your dermatologist, allergist, pulmonologist or doctor to see if there is a reason the medications aren’t working as well. You may want to review the way you use them and if you’re using them when directed to, along with looking for other underlying triggers and stressors or life conditions that may be contributing to the worsening control. Once that is reviewed, then you may want to take a look at Biological Medications. They are different. Instead of relieving your symptoms, biological medications treat different types of inflammation at the cellular level to prevent your symptoms from beginning or getting worse.
What are Biological Medications?
Many medications are produced in a laboratory using a chemical process – they are small molecules and aim to relieve the symptoms you are experiencing, but they do not treat the underlying cause of your health issue. Their structure is simple and easily identified. Biological medications go deeper – they treat your health concern by focusing on specific cells, proteins and inflammation pathways. They are grown in a laboratory from living organisms such as humans, animals or microorganisms (viruses and bacteria). They are large and complex medications at the forefront of drug research. New Biological medications are constantly being developed including antibodies, gene therapy and stem cell therapy.
What conditions do Biological medications treat?
Biologicals can treat a variety of conditions, such as moderate to severe asthma, atopic dermatitis (eczema), cancer, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease. GAAPP focuses on airway and allergic conditions so this tool kit will look at biological medications that address those health conditions.
There are several kinds of Biological Medications – they include, but are not limited to:
- Blood products
- Monoclonal antibodies
If Biological medications are newer, are they safe?
The development and safety of Biological treatments is regulated by government agencies around the world.
From the World Health Organization:
“Due to the differences in their nature and how they are produced, biological therapeutics are regulated, tested, and controlled differently than other medicines. To help ensure their quality, safety, and efficacy, each batch of a biological therapeutic product must be tested extensively at each stage of production in order to ensure consistency with prior batches. The use of World Health Organization (WHO) international reference standards helps to further ensure the consistency of a product across many batches as well as to allow the comparability of biologicals between manufacturers and/or countries. The establishment of general requirements applicable across a diverse range of product classes governing starting materials, manufacturing and regulatory oversight is an essential aspect of this process.”
What is a Biosimilar medication?
Traditional medications can be easily copied because it’s not difficult to determine the exact structure and make an identical copy of the medication. It’s not that simple with Biological medications since they are so complex and it’s not possible to copy their exact structure. Development processes in a lab are also difficult to repeat.
A Biosimilar medication is not identical to a Biological medication, but its structure and action are very close to the original medication. There are no general differences in how a Biosimilar medication will treat your health issue. Biosimilar medications are often 15 – 35% less expensive than the corresponding Biological medication.
How do I find out more about Biological Medications?
This tool kit will answer your questions! Click for the information that you need:
- What words do you need to know?
- What Biological medications are used for allergy and airway health issues?
- Are Biological medications expensive?
- What is treatment with a Biological medication like?
- What should I consider when thinking about a Biological medication?
- What questions do I want to ask my doctor or healthcare provider?
- What is shared decision making?
- How do my doctor and I find the right Biological medication for me?
- How do I prepare for treatment with a Biological medication?
- What resources are available for me as I move forward with a Biological medication?
- What should I expect from treatment with a Biological medication?
Based in Vienna, Austria, GAAPP’s Board is representative of all regions of the world with large and small groups, all with a common purpose: empowering the patient and supporting the patient voice so that decision-makers in both the public and private sectors in government and industry will be mindful of patient needs, patient desires, and patient rights.
Since 2009 we have grown into a vibrant worldwide organization with more than 60 constituent members from every continent sharing information and best practices, concerns, and hopes.
It is not the policy of Global Allergy & Airways Patient Platform to recommend or endorse any product or treatment.
It is part of the role of GAAPP to provide information on a wide range of products and treatments to keep those with allergy & airways issues as fully informed as possible as to all options available. For medical advice, consult your health professional.